Learn about the team members that work in each of our cores
Amy Elliott, PhD
CRCAIH Executive Director
Dr. Elliott earned a Ph.D. from Western Michigan University. She is a Child Clinical Psychologist with research interests in the area of maternal child health, particularly in fetal/infant mortality, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and early childhood development.
DenYelle Kenyon, PhD
CRCAIH Program Director
Dr. Kenyon earned a PhD in Family Studies and Human Development from the University of Arizona. Her research interests lie in adolescent health and development, transition to adulthood, healthy youth development, and applied developmental science approaches, such as prevention, intervention, and evaluation.
Jessica Heinzmann, BA
Jessica Heinzmann earned a B.A. in Economics and Social Science from the University of Minnesota, Morris. Her research experience includes working on a childhood obesity prevention grant before joining the CRCAIH team in 2015. Jessica is an enrolled member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe.
Alyson Becker, MPH
Alyson Becker earned a Master’s of Public Health degree from South Dakota State University. Her interests include assisting researchers with evaluation services and social and behavioral research for various populations in Midwestern communities.
Community Engagement and Innovation Division
Victoria Grey Owl, PhD, RD
Director of Community Engagement and Innovation Division
Dr. Grey Owl of Seneca Nation descent earned a PhD in Nutrition Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is also a registered dietician. Her research interests are in the area of nutrition sciences, diet quality and dietary intake, and their role in chronic disease/conditions specifically in regard to Type 2 diabetes and obesity in adults and youth.
Melissa Buffalo, MS
Senior Research Associate
Melissa is an enrolled member of the Meskwaki Nation in Iowa as well as the Crow Creek and Lower Brule Sioux Tribe. She earned a M.S. in Human Development with an emphasis on Early Childhood Education from South Dakota State University. Her goal is to provide culturally appropriate education to communities, students and researchers and work with CRCAIH partners to increase community engagement regarding research.
Culture, Science & Bioethics Core
Deana Around Him, DrPH
Dr. Around Him holds a Master of Science in Public Health from Harvard and a Doctorate of Public Health from Johns Hopkins. Her research interests include American Indian maternal and child health, translation of research to practice, culturally responsive assessment and evaluation, and building Public Health practice and research capacity in Indian Country.
Regulatory Knowledge Core
Jyoti Angal, MPH, CIP
Director of the Regulatory Knowledge Core
Jyoti Angal earned a Master’s in Public Health from San Jose State University. Her interests include review of research in community based participatory research and research regulations.
Temana Andalcio, BA
Research Development Coordinator
Temana Andalcio earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Wellesley College. Her primary research interests are health equity and community empowerment. Additional interests are research ethics and community protections in research.
Jessica Hanson, PhD
Director of the Methodology Core
Dr. Hanson earned a PhD in Community and Behavioral Health from the University of Iowa. She is currently the Principal Investigator on NIH-funded research studies that use community-based participatory research with American Indian tribes to develop, implement, and evaluate alcohol-exposed pregnancy (AEP) interventions. For the past 12 years, Dr. Hanson has directed and evaluated multiple projects within American Indian communities focused on maternal-child health and has published both qualitative and quantitative data related to women’s health and wellness, including prevention of alcohol-exposed pregnancies and fetal alcohol syndrome.
Jing Zhao, PhD
Dr. Zhao earned a PhD in Statistics from the University of Georgia. Her research interests lie in longitudinal data analysis, study design, and phylogenetic analysis.
Morgan Nelson, MS
Morgan earned a Master's of Science in Biostatistics from the University of Illinois at Chicago, School of Public Health. Her interests lie in assisting researchers in statistics and methodology, and analyzing data for various health studies and clinical trials.
Tess Weber, MPH
Tess Weber earned a Masters of Public Health from the University of Nebraska Medical Center with a concentration in cancer epidemiology. Her primary research interests are disparities in health care and health status.